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“Wonderful and Informative” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Chicago Detours

Chicago Detours
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Chicago Walking Tour: Interior Architecture of the Loop and Pedway Tour
Ranked #2 of 554 Nightlife in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: This is not your grandma's architecture tour! Our award-winning guided tours of Chicago’s architecture, history, and culture bring curious people to explore stories and places locals don't even know. With Chicago Detours, you'll explore downtown and our diverse neighborhoods to experience the city’s interior architecture, the underground Pedway, jazz and blues, and historic bars. Founded by a former Rick Steves tour guide, Chicago Detours has designed tours that are fun, educational experiences. Our tour guides are are not just volunteer docents, they’re highly trained and educated professionals who know how to spark discussions and create a lively group dynamic. Rated five stars on both Yelp and TripAdvisor, Chicago Detours is one of the top-rated tour companies in the city. We offer regularly scheduled tours for the public, and private group tours for corporate team-building, student field trips, and convention groups. The public walking tours stay mostly indoors, making them great activities for any time of year. Options include the "Loop Interior Architecture Walking Tour," which explores beautiful building interiors and the underground Pedway System, and the "Historic Chicago Walking Bar Tour," which digs into Chicago's entertainment history of social clubs, jazz music, prohibition, and theater. Other public tours include the "Best Architecture Walking Tour Since Sliced Bread," "1893 World's Fair Walking Tour with Bars," and "Pilsen Spaces and Changes Walking Tour with Food." Private group tours include the outings mentioned above, as well as tours by a luxury coach equipped with screens for presentation of historic images and videos. Many of our private group tour options can operate in the evening, and can include food and drink. Our historic bar tours, both by foot and by bus, are the most popular with private groups. Your group will eat, drink and learn about how Chicago has had fun over its history. The "Big Shoulders Historic Bar and Food Bus Tour" visits Bridgeport, Chicago's oldest neighborhood outside downtown, which was home to workers for the nearby Union Stock Yards. Another popular tour is our "Jazz, Blues & Beyond by Bus." This tour explores Chicago neighborhoods north to south for a fun, up-close connection with the cultural history of Chicago's music. This memorable experience reaches its conclusion when a blues musician comes on board for a performance and harmonica lesson. Other private tours include "Chicago Neighborhoods and Cultural Diversity by Bus" and "Old Polonia and Wicker Park Tour with Food." Step-on guide services are also available for private group tours. Tours include lively guide commentary, an interactive group dynamic, and extras like media presentation and special gifts. Rather than a standard lecture format, these tours actively involve guests in a memorable experience that inspires new perspectives of the city's architecture and history. We annually receive TripAdvisor's "Certificate of Excellence," and maintain five stars on Yelp as well. Our tours have been featured in Frommer's, Lonely Planet, ABC 7, WGN, WBEZ, "Chicago Magazine," the Chicago Tribune, and the Guardian.
Grand Rapids Michigan
Level Contributor
154 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 144 helpful votes
“Wonderful and Informative”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 November 2011

It's a great tour, even for Chicago area residents. You walk about .5 mile in two hours. Amanda, our guide and the tour originator, is a wealth of information of the history and architecture. We began in the Chase Building with a description of modernism in architecture. She parallels this with the small building (Italian Village) across the street.

They use four I-pads to demonstrate the history and other aspects using photos and videos. You learn so much about the history! The First Methodist church is fantastic. You hear about the history of the Picasso.

There are a few places to rest along the way.

The pedpath through and under buildings is very cool. Few of us knew it was all there.

The tour ends at the Cultural Center--which is amazingly beautiful inside.

I highly recommend this tour for visitors and residents alike.

They also have a jazz/blues bus tour and this spring will start a tour of historic bars.


Visited November 2011
Thank Frequentflyermom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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341 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
“Learning to appreciate the city in the past and present”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 October 2011

I'm new to Chicago and wanted to get to know the city in the past and present forms. Chicago Detours host, Amanda, gave an insightful and engaging presentation on Chicago Jazz and Blues, leading us back in time and thoughtfully appreciating the wonders of our city. The tour was fun, encouraged communication amongst participants, informative and had some exciting twists. My favorite part was the harmonica lesson! Amanda has really done her research on the local scene and you can tell she is passionate about sharing this with her customers. I highly recommend Chicago DeTours to visitors as well as locals.

Visited August 2011
Thank Colleen P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
san francisco
1 review
“Super unique tour with an awesome guide!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 October 2011

We went on the Jazz and Blues bus tour and had a great time, Amanda (our tour guide), created a very fun and relaxed environment and was so knowledgable about the subject matter. She had somehow uncovered some pretty obscure info on Jazz and Blues in Chicago and I couldn't help but notice how different the tour was from other out of the can companies. For instance, we journied to the back of an old hardware to see one of the coolest Jazz relics ever, a mural dating back to when the place was a famous jazz club! If you are looking for a unique experience that goes further than your average tour, Chicago Detours should be on your list. She also added awesome touches like a harmonica lesson from a real blues musician, a stop into a delicious soul food bakery, and a free harmonica which I felt was very above and beyond, and made me feel the tour was really a value for what it cost.

Visited August 2011
Thank squirrelgirl78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
74 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Different kind of tour, very enjoyable!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 October 2011

We had Nick as a tour guide on the Good times tour around Michigan Avenue. We learned things about the area that we didn't know exist. Nick was very animated and kept everyones interest. I especially enjoyed the information about the intercontinental and will be going ba ck to explore further. Various forms of multimedia are used throughout the tour to illustrate the landmarks. These tours are great for visitors to Chicago as well as locals!

1 Thank Loree L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Take notice of your surroundings”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 August 2011

An interesting, off the beaten path kind of tour. I went on the 'inside the loop' tour and was amazed at how much i've been missing out on! Ffrom byzantine mosaics to the Chicago Pedway, Chicago Detours again and again opened my eyes to the history, architecture, and art in The Loop that most of us probably see every day, but rarely take notice of. I took a first date with me on the tour and we had a blast. It was definitely a good value.

Visited August 2011
1 Thank HumanVolcano
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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